The dark horse in the Maun West constituency George Lubinda is likely to cause a major upset in the upcoming general elections.
The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) representative has not been under the spotlight while the other two contenders – Kgosi Tawana Moremi of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Reaboka Mbulawa of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have both been in the news lately.
The Voice reporter Daniel Chida had time with the little-known BCP candidate.
Q: Welcome to the Politically Speaking Column, can you tell our readers how you arrived at BCP?
As someone who was born and bred in Maun I did follow politics but was not that involved because I was a civil servant where I worked as Principal Education Officer.
After retirement in 2008 I decided to join BCP because of their good policies. In the 2009 general elections I contested for a council position at Boseja/Kubung and lost to a BDP candidate.
Q: Since you lost a council seat why not go for one again instead of trying for a parliamentary seat?
I am now better established; unlike in the past where I rushed into contesting when I was not really prepared.
Q: Lubinda you are still not known nationally in the political arena yet you are regarded as a big man in Maun, what is going on?
To be honest with you I am new in politics and have not been involved that much in national issues but I have been active in Ngamiland.
My constituency knows me well but as time goes on I will make it a point that I sell myself outside the region.
Q: You own a chain of businesses and someone of that nature is expected to be in the ruling party, what are you doing in opposition?
I want to show Batswana that not only BDP men can work hard and strive in business.
Being in opposition does not bar someone from being successful in life provided you work hard.
Q: Does government support your business looking at the fact that you are in opposition?
To some extent it does especially when it comes to buying fuel from me, for example.
Q: How is your campaign going?
My campaign is running smoothly and I have a very strong committee which goes house to house on a daily basis.
Q: Talking of campaign team, there were allegations that former BCP Party President Gil Saleshando wanted his wife to contest instead of you, how true is that?
Saleshando’s wife never showed any interest in politics and according to me there is no truth in that.
Q: There is no smoke without fire, tell us what lead to those allegations?
I am not sure where that story came from because personally I never experienced anything of that nature, maybe some of the members picked it but not me.
Q: Is the party doing enough to support you?
Definitely, we are working hard as a team and some of my colleagues will be joining us over the weekend to bolster the campaign.
Q: You will be contesting against your Paramount Chief Kgosi Tawana Moremi and a wealthy businessman in Reaboka Mbulawa, how do you fancy your chances?
My chances of winning the constituency are very high, if things go the way I am analysing them there will be a split of votes between these two gentlemen.
Many of those going to vote for Chief Tawana, will I believe, be members of the BDP leaving Mbulawa in limbo.
The contest will then be between me and the Chief.
Q: Elections are around the corner but you do not hold rallies, what is the matter?
We have a schedule for rallies but due to unforeseen circumstances we were disrupted.
Two weeks ago we had one in Moeti ward.
Q: Apart from rallies and house-to-house, what other style are you using going into the elections?
There is no other good way to recruit people than house to house and it has been the best for us so far.
Q: You have been omitted from both the BCP Central Committee and Shadow Cabinet why?
I don’t know why I have been omitted, I am also in the dark.
A new member in Goretetse Kekgonegile (Maun East Candidate) made it into the shadow cabinet and you were overlooked.
We cannot all be members of the cabinet and central committee in BCP, we believe everyone is capable of doing something, my chance will come.
Q: As former Principal Education Officer, how did you miss the chance of getting a post in Ministry of Education looking at your experience?
We will rotate, it is a matter of time and I am not the only educationist in the party.
Q: Do you think the Shadow Cabinet initiative is a good move?
Definitely it is.
It will enlighten Batswana to know more what is happening in the Ministries, our shadow cabinet will keep Ministers on their toes and expose those who sleep on their jobs.
Q: What developments do you intend to bring in your constituency?
I am looking at roads, government is reluctant to maintain our roads and we lose a number of tourists due to accidents.
The Education sector is one area that I will focus on.
School heads should be given the authority to run their schools, not what is happening now.
Another worrying thing is the pay structure; school heads earn more than Principal Education Officers who are their supervisors.
I will also make sure that Batswana reap something from the tourism sector because as of now it is in the hands of foreigners.
I will also fight Foot and Mouth; we must try to see why Ngamiland in the whole country is always affected.
I will fight for farmers’ rights.
Q: What are the challenges you are facing in your campaign?
We don’t have resources like the ruling party and my wife Gontse Lubinda has been the sole sponsor of my campaign.
Some of the party members do volunteer with their vehicles but the terrain is bad for us to reach all the remote areas.
Q: There has been a perception that BCP are pushing former BAM members away from the party, for example Moeti ward Councillor Botshelobokae Ramasu, why?
We are working as team and some of the former BAM members are in our campaign team.
Ramasu didn’t want to be challenged during the party’s primary elections and allegations that we wanted someone instead of her are not true at all.
Ramasu is still my friend and she resigned on her own, we couldn’t bend party policies for her.
Her departure will not affect us in anyway come the elections.
Q: Your last words
Vote for Lubinda to be well represented in Parliament, I will make farmers enjoy rearing their cattle, beef prices will go up and education will improve.